Here is a look at this year's winners and their work:
_ Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine to Americans Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Carol W. Greider and Jack W. Szostak for discovering how chromosomes protect themselves as cells divide, work that has inspired experimental cancer therapies and may offer insights into aging.
_ Nobel Prize in physics to Americans Charles K. Kao, Willard S. Boyle and George E. Smith. Kao was honored for discovering how to transmit light signals long distance through hair-thin glass fibers. Boyle and Smith received the prize for opening the door to digital cameras by inventing a sensor that turns light into electrical signals.
_ Nobel Prize in chemistry to Americans Venkatraman Ramakrishnan and Thomas Steitz and Israel's Ada Yonath _ the first woman to receive it since 1964 _ for creating detailed blueprints of ribosomes, the protein-making machinery within cells, research that's being used to develop new antibiotics.
_ Nobel Prize in literature to Germany's Herta Mueller, a Romanian-born writer honored for work that "with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed."
_ Nobel Peace Prize to President Barack Obama for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." The Norwegian Nobel Committee's decision drew praise, derision and plenty of puzzlement.
_ The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences to Americans Elinor Ostrom and Oliver Williamson for their work in economic governance. Ostrom was the first woman to win the prize since it was founded in 1968, and the fifth woman to win a Nobel award this year _ a Nobel record.
On the Net: